Music has been an intrinsic part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have vague memories of standing in front of the glass door, holding a makeshift microphone, belting out “Little Mermaid” songs as only a 5-year-old could to the cats sunning themselves on the stoop.
I was one of those children who tried piano, but didn’t get much past “Chopsticks” – I lost interest when I found out how much practice it required. Although, I did learn the first few lines of “Jessica’s Theme” from “The Man from Snowy River.”
Loved that movie. Australia. Horses. Good-looking guys riding around, cracking whips and generally doing cowboy-ish things. Really, what’s not to like? Even now, I can hum the first few notes of that song – duh, duh, duh … duh … duh … duh, duh, duh, duh. But I digress, again.
It wasn’t until I got to fourth or fifth grade that I really started pursuing singing.
Ah, those were the days. I would practice every week with my instructor, Miss Victoria – in my school’s janitor’s closet. It was weird, but it was the only space available. (Even now, I remember that special smell of the combination of antiseptic floor cleaner and damp mops somewhat fondly.) Scales, breathing technique and enunciation. It was a lot to learn. I soaked it up. All told, I took voice lessons for 11 years, until about a year after college.
Music has meant different things to me over the years: it’s been an emotional outlet, a (brief) path of study at college, a pursuit outside of my job, an opportunity to worship and something I’ve just plain enjoyed.
A couple of weeks ago, it was many things. It was a rare gathering of widely scattered friends, a chance to record for the first time and an opportunity to kick one part of my support-raising into gear.
One Saturday, my friends Wayne, pianist/vocalist extraordinaire; Melissa and Julia, talented vocalists/instrumentalists; Jordan, brilliant guitarist; and Jonathan, gifted djembe-player, graciously volunteered five hours to pound out a live set list of songs. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Brandon, keeper of the recording equipment. Really, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything without him.)
Standing in my pastor’s living room, surrounded by cables, computers, instruments and microphones, I was overwhelmed. It was a nod to the times not long ago when we would settle in for impromptu jam sessions. Hymns. Pop hits. Praise songs. Gospel. Disney tunes. Musical theater. You name it. We probably did it.
It was a reminder of what I love about music. It brings people of diverse talents together with a common purpose: to make a joyful sound – emphasis on joyful. That love of music got obscured behind the busyness of life for a while, but at one time, these friends helped bring it back. I’ve never felt such a strong bond musically with other people.
Ultimately, I have no idea how the recording will turn out, but I’m so thankful I shared this experience with them.
Stay tuned for news about the finished product.